IMAGINE THE FOLLOWING: FRIDAY, JULY 23RD--Noted Consumer Advocate and Green Party Presidential candidate Ralph Nader announced the suspension of his campaign, effective until the world manages more bad news. Speaking from his California home, a clearly frustrated Nader blamed the National Statistics Bureau for 'Failing to back up my frequent assertion that Globalization is costing America vital jobs and wages. The good old crew down at the NSB, who backed me up during my fights against unsafe products, has failed me in my hour of need. So, until they come to their senses and report a rising unemployment rate or drastically reduced wages for manufacturers, I am forced to discontinue my campaign."

Nader then broke down into the arms of fellow anti-Globalization activist Pat Buchanan, who comforted the weeping man before taking the microphone himself. "I just want to say that despite the differences Mr. Nader and I have had in the past, the fact that we've come together on this issue shows how much relevance and meaning it has to the mainstream. I've always enjoyed Ralph's colorful stories of alien, scary Foreigners coming to this country to steal your job, your house, and, eventually, your wife and children. The Reform party will continue to be the champion of those Right-thinking individuals who want to take America back from those who have stolen it from us, and we are sorry that the Green party can not march beside us.'

Nader's announcement follows several months of turmoil within Green Party ranks. He first faced a challenge from Dead Kennedy frontman Jello Biafra, whose call for a $100,000 minimum wage was well-received within Green party ranks. This was preceded by disruptions to the left that look, in retrospect, like early warning signs Nader never fully dealt with. The first was the embarrassment of Green party icon Julia Butterfly, who broke down in tears after being yelled at by activists who felt her year and half long tree-sit didn't go far enough. The second was the A16 demonstrations in Washington, which failed to accomplish their goal of shutting down the World Bank meetings. Many outside observers noted that the only minority participant was Washington resident Jamal Johnson, who later admitted to joining 'just to get this one girl's phone number.' Even this marcher left when the girl he was pursuing went into an Ecstasy-induced seizure during an Anti-GM foods rally.

Yet Nader's undoing, in the end, was the ponderous weight of one 800 page book-- the US Bureau of Statistics 2000 guide. It indicated lower levels of drug consumption, teenage pregnancies, violent crime, spousal abuse, jaywalking, puppy kicking, cat shaving, fake hugs, and bad things happening to good people. Small Japanese cars polluted far less than American ones, NAFTA helped break the PRI stranglehold, and happier cows were producing even creamier milk. The guide, sporting a small cheery anthropromorphic sun giving a thumbs up on its cover, soon became anathema down at Green party headquarters. Tempers flared, and Committee member Dorothy Bryne was accused of eating genetically modified tomatoes. Her alibi that the unusually large vegetables were simply the result of thousands of years of careful selection by farmers and had nothing to do with genetic engineering at all was discounted by many campaign workers.

Through the turmoil Nader remained upbeat, showing the characteristic 'strength in adversity' that is his trademark. His colorful tales of 'Jose, the job-stealing immigrant,' played well in audiences from Washington to Minnesota, and he had similar success with 'Wang, industrial automation,' in a speech to a New York audience. Nader picked up several key endorsements from the Ethanol and Sugar groups, as well as many Unions and the surviving member of the Symbionese Liberation Army. He called for a bold program of putting up 100% economic and military sanctions around South Korea, Thailand, Bangladesh, and most Latin American nations until their people elected a government that would pass US-mandated laws. Nader also energized campaign events by appearing in a 1970 Pinto, which would explode into flames when Nader tapped it with a small hammer to the cheers of the crowd. Some analysts date the start of Nader and his party's fall from when the Pinto accidentally exploded just as Nader spoke the line 'We must make the world friendly for American craftmanship!'

Growing desperate without any significant factual support for his claims, Nader began acting erratically. In one humiliating affair, he was caught disguised as Alan Greenspan, running around the Wall Street floor shouting 'The Sky is Falling!' in an attempt to provoke a Stock Market panic. He began eating bushel upon bushel of GM modified wheat, hoping to contract an illness, but continued healthy and exceptionally regular. Tired of fighting an intellectually bankrupt fight, Nader finally gave in. He ended his news conference with a final Wheatgrass toast to those 'Who had believed on so little for so long' before walking inside his house, quiet and defeated.